Friday, April 18, 2014

Alone in Mt. Hood National Forest

In our quest to take advantage of every weekend, we chanced an April camping trip in Oregon.

Turns out, we're lucky we did. Last weekend was absolutely perfect!

Clear skies. Warm (and even hot in the afternoons). And quiet.

Yes, quiet. Where was everyone? They were definitely not in Mt. Hood National Forest.

Granted, we did pass by a few campers and wilderness explorers on our way in and out of the forest. But some how we found a spot where no one else was looking!

Down a dusty, worn, potholed road off of NF 46, we found harmony and solitude. Our only company being ourselves, our dog, and the occasional bird.

We relaxed.

Surrounded by green pines and sun all weekend, we read, we laughed, we napped, and we talked.

The afternoons brought Caesar salad wraps and chips.

The evenings, a camp fire from gathered sticks, hot dogs, and (of course) S'mores!

The solitude was great for the soul. We had escaped from our daily lives and our daily routines. Gone were the stresses of work. Here we could do absolutely nothing, but still feel refreshed and at peace.

The night sky was completely free of clouds - and bugs. We laid out an air mattress, staring at the ceaseless number of stars as they revealed themselves through the black abyss.

The moon glowing brightly, had us up out of bed and in the road marveling at the clarity by which we could see our surroundings. Our shadows danced as we basked in the world's wonder.

Though our sleeping bags and blankets fought off the creeping chill, at 2 a.m. (and cool 29 degrees) we made our way back to the car's engulf - for a cramped and uncomfortable night's sleep.

Morning brought the snaking sunlight back to the forest. Eventually giving us renewed energy to...make French pressed coffee! (Yes, we're those type of car campers. Though to be fair, we were testing out our backpacking gear - and I must say the JetBoil worked perfectly...)

On our way home, we stopped at a steaming natural hot spring. Just off the side of the road and (to our surprise) and unused! Alone, we waded into the river. The mix of mountain snow melting (beginning its long journey to the ocean) with the bursts of 200 degree sulfured hot water (bubbling up through the rocks under our feet) was an unforgettable sensation.

The rarity of nice April weather was not lost on us. This would eventually pass. Replaced with rain and clouds, as summer has not yet arrived. But even the fleeting opportunity to marinade ourselves in a sunny weekend, helped to satisfy our winter cravings.

The only question I have now is...what will next weekend bring?

Yours in exploiting life!

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